Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

A picture's worth a thousand words...

Didn't want to ride today.  Feeling all sorts of unmotivated.  Sadly since acknowledging to myself that this summer is going to be all about schooling and involve very little competing, my ambition has been noticeably absent *sigh*   Riding just to ride is *tons* of fun -- outside on a warm summer night or a crisp fall day or with friends.  Much less so alone, on a cold snowy day when winter should be long since over, and we're still indoors going in circles.

So I had this great plan -- it involved a book, a fire place, and a cat curled up on my lap.  But then those rude beasts Dedication and Work Ethic, aided by their boss Guilt simply wouldn't leave me alone *sigh*  So I dragged my sorry seat up into the saddle.

Where my barely-broke greenbean promptly made me laugh at her mad dash down the long side away from the scary jump.  hahaha I am having *way* more fun with this horse now than I was a couple months ago.  So that alone made getting on worthwhile.  Shortly after I'd mounted Amy came in, ostensibly to jump crew (THANKS AMY!) but, unbeknownst to me, she also had her camera with her.  As a result, this story comes with pictures!  Woohoo!

Warming up :)
Lexi was being remarkably good about the fact that the gymnastic was right next to said scary jumps.  Only looked very briefly the first time or two and then completely focused on the jumping game (which she seems to really enjoy. Sweet!).  If I'm counting correctly, this would make for her fourth time jumping.

So we built up the jumping slowly, as you might expect, until eventually we had a bounce (her first ever!  Yeah!), one stride to a vert, one stride to an oxer.  She was none-to-sure about that bounce at first, but she figured it out and was hoping through the whole thing reasonably well.

Things were going really well, but we were jumping toward the viewing lounge and at one point as we were cantering away from the last fence, somebody caught her attention in the lounge and was good for a quick spin.  No big deal, it's a baby move.  Got her going forward again and didn't think anything of it.  Until our next line...

Jumped in no problem...
Focused on the last fence

Clearing the oxer with a bit more space than technically necessary :)
Nice, forward, reasonably balanced landing -
by this point I should've clued in to her focus...

So the world is good right?  We've finished the line.  All is well.  And then...

OMG!!!!   *insert screeching breaks sound here*
Was there something truly horrifying in the viewing lounge?  Nope, empty.  And her focus was definitely not there...  Was it the scary jumps?  No - they're way behind us at this point...   So why the drama?  There was...  *gasp*  A line of dirt.  In the, well, dirt.  hahaha Oh dear is it ever going to be a fun summer.  The quick spin from the round before left a skid mark in the dirt and it was *NOT* to be crossed.   Too funny.  So we eventually walked over it a few times and then Amy kicked more dirt over the dirt, easily erasing said line since my goal of the day was fun jumping stuff, not bravery training.

Did it a few more times just to remind her that she could, in fact, canter away from the jump without being eaten, and finished on that.  I sense ditches and water are going to make for some fun stories >;-P  But some day...  Some day, she'll be a super star :)


Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly at the right moment. -- Horace

Got on Athena today for the first time since last summer.  That mare just makes me grin like a little kid on a pony.  I don't know what it is about her but from the first ride she's had that effect on me.   That being said, omg does she ever make me appreciate Lexi *g*   Athena tries her heart out and yet will never have a fraction of the movement, balance and coordination Lex has at four without even trying.

Sasha was *such* a superstar at puppy class on Thurs.  Starting to make her way through the weaves with fewer and fewer guides and a fair amount of speed :)  Even went bravely across the teeter-totter.  She is totally addicted to the A-frame though -- that's a little excessive :)  hahahah seems totally ok with the chute (tunnel with the all but the opening collapsed) -- runs through knowing there'll be a frisbee flying on the other side *g*  Now I just have to convince Lexi to be so brave and we'll be all set!   Ah the joys of baby animals.

Readers of fantasy -- I stumbled upon The Book of Deacon the other day.  And promptly got nothing else done.  hahaha it's a good trilogy, but be warned -- it's not three stories in the same world, it's one story in three books. So don't start reading till you don't need to surface for a couple days.  Unless, unlike me, you're not *quite* as obsessive about things and are actually capable of putting a book down and functioning in real life.

And while we're at it - another shout out for Lindsay Buroker - if I had to pick a single favourite fantasy series, it just might be her Emperor's Edge books.  Tbh, the description of them didn't really appeal to me and the cover actually turned me off entirely.  Even though it was *free* I didn't read it for months because everything else always seemed more appealing.  But when I did get into them?  By about the third chapter I was hooked, and each book was better than the one before.  Her books have a loose plot running through them all, but each is also its own unit so it's not quite as life-sucking to start the series.  But by far the best part about them is the character development.  Her two primary characters will leave you randomly wondering some day, hey I wonder what they're up to now?  The writing is light, so you feel like you're flipping through quickly and don't have to think too hard, but the books are reasonably long so there's no loss.  It's possibly the only series I've read of more than about three books, that doesn't lag in the middle (Sword of Truth anybody?  Fabulous start and end - the first as a stand-alone is one of my fav fantasy reads, but may as well skip half a dozen in the middle of the series).  And some of it is quite sharp - good one-liners.  Definitely worth a read - esp as the first one is free in ebook.  If you don't enjoy it, all you've lost is a few minutes of dl time.

And as far as writing goes - had real hope for a FridayFlash today -- but it turns out it's already Saturday *sigh*   Oops.  Sorry about that.  hahaha  Not exhausted yet though so maybe next week's magic might happen?  Admittedly don't really have any ideas floating though -- still stuck in Jezina's world as I'm in what *should* be the LAST round with my editor!  Woohoo.  If the world is good my book will be available May-ish :)  Maybe even earlier in ebook format.  Can you believe it?   I can't - not really.   But then I also hardly believe I get to go to the barn instead of the office every morning *g*   hahaha  Speaking of - had a blast teaching tonight.  Extreme gymnastics *g*  And the girls did an amazing job with them!  Woohoo!

Ok yeah, happy day - you get the point.  I think I need a little less caffeine.  Later :)

Just a kid on a pony...

I'd like to say today's ride was a good ride, but it wasn't.  Not technically anyways.  It was, however, a whole lot of fun.  And just occasionally that counts for a lot *g*   Lexi was super high -- first time I've ever seen her like that actually.  Felt like a real TB *g*  But she was civilized about it -- no bucking, spinning, rearing, silliness -- just deemed that we were going for a canter, a fairly fast canter, and I was welcome to come along if I liked :)  hahaha but on the plus side, she was remarkably well balanced.  That counts, right?  Never did get even a fraction of what she's been giving me consistently on the flat lately, but had a lot of fun running around the ring for no apparent reason.  hahaha oh dear.  This moments after somebody asked if I wanted to go to a dr clinic in May :)   Maybe she already feels about dressage as most event horses do?

So my mum found a whole box of ribbons I won as a kid.  Kinda cool to dig through -- found my very first first place ribbon!  (side note - also my very first ribbon :))   Honestly I have to admit the vast majority of them I have no memory of.  Tbh - even most of the ones at the barn from the last couple years I have little to no memory of unless something unusual happened.  But the ones that *did* trigger memories -- those have lasted a LONG time and were well worth remembering.  And some of them have stuff written on the back which mostly makes me smile.

Yeah Lexi's better!

Yeah!  Lexi's better :)  Woohoo!  Got to ride today - so much fun.  Pony still *very* afraid of our scary jumps, but they give us all kinds of impulsion.  Well, that and the fact that she hasn't been ridden since Wednesday...  Short ride, but lots of fun on the flat.  Correct leads with every canter transition.  And jumped all the non-scary under 2' fences like a pro!  Even had a rateable canter.  *That* I was really thrilled about :)  Yeah!  But mostly just excited that she's feeling like herself again.  That and a little concerned at how not brave she is ;-P   Those scary fences are beyond scary.  Oh dear.  But some day, she's going to be brilliant :)

Poor pony :(

It's been quite the week.  Camp's been a ton of fun -- but exhausting.  hahaha I never understand quite why it wipes me out so much.  Camp *should* be way easier than my normal life.  I don't have to do stalls, I'm home by 5:00 every night...  Easiest week ever.  But I find it so much more exhausting than my usual crazy schedule.  Odd.  Ah well.   At least the girls were a lot of fun and made steady progress all week.  That part is always really rewarding -- intensive training bumps them up so much faster than]twice/week lessons...

So Wed started out well -- a super fun ride on my horse who was *very* high thanks to the scary jumps in the ring.  Great camp day that ended with all the girls jumping all the scary fences successfully.  Nice dinner out with a friend from out of town.  All good right?  And then I got a text from one of my boarders.  "Your new grey horse is sick."  Frig :(   So not good.

So I asked her for what she was seeing, and I asked Kirby - who was on for night check - how far away she was, because I was about an hour out :(.  Kirby said 10 mins, and the info I was getting from my boarder suggested I needed to get there.  She very kindly kept the horse walking till Kirby was able to take over, and Kirby - being the amazing person she is - took care of her till I got there, despite not feeling well herself.  Based on the text updates I was getting, I decided to call the vet on the way - so he got there about 10 mins after I did.

Lexi was definitely unhappy and very sucky.  Quite colicky :(  Not severe (thankfully!) but seemed to be getting more uncomfortable rather than less, so I was very happy when the vet came with drugs *g*  Tranq and Banamine did wonderful things for her comfort.  But then I needed to be able to check on her when the drugs wore off...  2h for the tranq and 4 for the Banamine...  9:30 now.  Blah.   So trusting her to be ok while she was knocked out, I left her in her stall and went home to get some overnight supplies, and then booked it back again.  Checking on her at 2h intervals all night was all sorts of fun *sigh*   The tranq lasted significantly longer than the expected 2h.  She was still somewhat drunk at the 2am check.  She was noticeably uncomfortable when the Banamine wore off, but better than earlier in the eve.  We walked for a while and then I just sat by her stall and watched to see if she'd roll or do anything for a while.  When I decided she was getting better rather than worse, I went back to sleep for an hour (yeah for pull-out couches!) until the next check.

Each check after she was progressively better and the next day she seemed pretty normal.  Gave her restricted food and turned her out in a smaller paddock with less hay and warmer water just-in-case.  Today she got to go back in her normal paddock.  Seemed all good, but still sort of dopey and less responsive than usual.  So she gets a couple days off till she's feeling better.

And I have to say -- to all my friends who have small children -- you're insane!  One night of up every 2h and trying to work all day did me in -- doing that every night for months?!?!  By choice?  Awful idea >;-P

Was very happy with how camp went this week, but I'm exhausted and didn't get nearly as much done in the evenings as I'd hoped.  Turns out sorting through photos and writing blog posts takes longer than one might think.  hahaha ah well.  Only thing I'm a little disappointed about is a lack of Friday Flash.  Still have 2h, but I think sleep is going to win out.  Booo.  Someday soon!

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

A post about absolutely nothing because I'm writing the GRS post and feel like I should also write a dragons post.  That, and I'm waiting for my cookies to finish cooking before I go download photos for the GRS blog and figured this'd kill just enough time.

Fav quote of the evening: "I like the devil category. Not sure what that says about me."   hahaha - was watching Jeopardy and doing really well in a category all about devils *g*   Oops.

And the one that amused me the other day...  The last cognizant thought I had before falling asleep was how wonderful it'd be if I *actually* managed to sleep all night. I shrugged it off as unlikely and fell asleep. And for the first time in I have no idea how long, stayed asleep. So  figure tonight, the last thing I think should be how wonderful it'd be if I *actually* won the lottery ;-P

My pony was very unsure about the new scary jumps we put in the arena today -- tomorrow's ride could be entertaining :)   Sasha had no problems with it though :)

Testing out the new jumps
My book is getting so much closer to being finished -- I can actually see the finish line now :)  Makes me a little anxious, but excited at the same time.  Does mean any *extra* writing time has been going there rather than new projects or even FridayFlash.  Hoping with this week working a more traditional number of hours I might get one in.  Fingers crossed :)

And your groaner for the day...  Fran sent me this (blame her!) and it's so very bad I had to include it:

Three parrots slide down the chute...

The thing all writers do best is find ways to avoid writing. - Alan Foster

Schooling Lexi on Friday was one of those sessions that's a good training day but not necessarily a good ride.   She was a difficult combination of high and lazy.  Ugh.  ADD with no forward.  It was not exactly a fun ride, but in the end she was bending and moving somewhat forward and we ended on a happy note.  I'm starting to introduce basic lateral work, and this weekend she really seemed to get it.  Pretty excited about that :)

Was highly amused today -- she's had trouble picking up the right lead from the beginning, but it's getting progressively better.  Today she was fabulous on the right - getting it several times in a row - so I thought we'd end with the "easy" left.  hahaha yeah, about that.  Took about three tries!  hahaha fix one and break the other.  Sheesh.  Such a typical baby thing.

So your product check of the day/week/month:  -- this site finds collections of indie books in various genres and offers them as a group for sale for a limited time (the current one is fantasy books).  But the fun part is -- you decide how much they're worth (from $1 up), what percentage of your money should go to the author and what amount to the website, and if you'd like some of that to go to charity.  Books are all DRM free, so they'll work on whichever ereader you like.  Have fun!

Of course now I have several books to read, including several *actual* old-school books that Amy lent me, and I'm afraid to start any of them because I know my productivity will decline significantly.  Today's goal is to get caught up on blog posts.  So instead of writing the posts I'm *supposed* to be writing, I'm writing this one instead.  At least that's reasonably productive procrastination :)

Alright, back to work with me.

In riding the more one does, the less one succeeds. The less one does, the more one succeeds.

So I haven't really been writing much about Lexi because she's just so green that everything is very baby steps and, done right, not terribly exciting.  Or so I thought anyways.  But then the girls told me they actually *wanted* to read about it.  And let me tell you, as a writer, there's nothing more inspiring than having somebody tell you they want to read what you write.  hahaha  So I'll see what I can do about including some more baby-Lexi stories :)

So with her, it's all about the little things.  The very little things.  Yesterday I was thrilled because I got some bend on about half of our turns.  Any bend at all has only been happening for a couple days, so half of the turns had me pretty excited :)   The day before the exciting moment was that our right canter transition was quiet, in rhythm, and on the correct lead.  Any one of those three things is usually worth celebrating, so all three at once?!?!  Wow :)  hahaha  I'm super excited about any transition I can get quietly and without resistance -- when I feel like we're not getting anywhere, I remember those first few days when we *literally* went nowhere *g*  Some day we'll be able to go places by just thinking about it :)  Maybe not yet, but some day...

Last week was her second jump school.  Started with poles and built up to a little gymnastic...  Ended up with a triple combination.  Woohoo!  First fence was, admittedly, only about a foot high *g*  But the last was a legit 2'9.  Which I realize isn't too exciting in the grand scheme of things, but for her second time jumping with a rider I was pretty happy.  Especially happy because it was easy for her and she was totally getting the game.  Of course she also thinks things on the ground are terrifying - every time.  So could be an interesting summer :)

So having my Wednesdays off is making life run a lot smoother.  Amazing how fast though the day "off" fills up.  Today was pilates, car in for an oil change, laundry, got caught up on some correspondence  some financial fun and games, phone calls made, show season and WR clinic organized...   And suddenly the day is gone.  But there're still like eight items on my to-do list.  Sheesh.  Ah well - next week right?